« السابقةمتابعة »
cal Writings, one finds in them a perfect conformity of idea's, with the writings of the Old Teftament.
One may to this purpose obferve in general, That the Gospel fuppofeth the Divine authority of the book of the Old Teftament, as an unqueftionable truth. The gospels and epiftles have the fame coherence with the books of the law and Prophets, which the writings of the latter Prophets have with those of the former, and which the books of all the Prophets together, have with the books of Mofes, and with the prophecies, laws and hiftories which are contained therein.
One may take notice afterwards, That all the books of the New Teftament have an effential relation to those of the Old, in their most principal defigns. I have fhewed that their defign was no other, than to raise men to expectations of the Meffiah, and to paint him to the life, whom God had promifed from the beginning of the world; and the only defign of the New Teftament is, to prove that the Meffiah is come according to the Prophets. The first speaks concerning the Meffiah as expected, the latter as already come.
But we muft proceed to a more particular view of this matter. I fay then first of all, That the Chriftians have the fame object of their faith which the Jews had; this Jefus Chrift himself declares, where he faith; This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and fefus Christ whom thou haft fent. Behold here the true character of the Chriftian religion, as well as of the Jewish, to believe one only God, to own a Meffiah, and to acknowledge that Jefus Chrift is he. The Jews agree with us in the two former articles, tho' they difpute the last.
I fay in the second place, That the laws of the Gofpel, which regulate religion, and the conduct of particular perfons in that fociety, are exactly the fame with thofe of the Old Teftament. Jefus Chrift in his fermon upon the mount, which contains an abridgment of his ethicks, had no other end but to restore the true fenfe and meaning of those laws God had given upon mount Sinai; and tho' in the matter of divorces, it feems oppofite to that law wherein God had before permitted them, yet we may eafily conceive that he began to abrogate those orders and difpenfations which were only given to make the Meffiah known whenever he should appear.
The prayer which Jefus Chrift taught his Apoftles, is full of notions. which reigned among the Jews, as feveral expofitors have manifefted. I fhall content myself with alledging the inftance of the petition for our daily bread, which has an evident regard to the manna which God gave the children of Ifrael in the wilderness for forty years.
We know alfo that the facraments of the baptifm and the eucharift, are originally Jewish ceremonies, which Jefus Chrift hath applied with a very little variation, to much more important fubjects. Baptifm was a washing which accompanied the facrifices and circumcifion of profelytės. And the washing practifed under the law of Mofes, fignified that the profelyte, who was admitted to the fame, was refolved to renounce his former courses, and for the time to come to follow an oppofite way of living, according to the rules prefcribed him by the Minifters of hea ven, after that they in the name of God had affured him of the remiffion of his fins..
The eucharift was an appendix of the feaft of the paffover, which preferved the memory of the fufferings of the Ifraelites in Egypt, and the deliverance he afforded them, in punishing of the Egyptians. This ceremony did perpetuate the memory of that deliverance till the coming of the Meffiah. Jefus Chrift hath fubftituted to this figure an inftance of the curfe of God against the pofterity of Cham, the idea of his death, by which he hath communicated his bleffing to all nations of the earth according to his promife. And he hath made it a more full and exact memorial of his death, which he would have us to confider as the death of the true Lamb, which takes away the fins of the world. As the old covenant was made in the blood of a lamb, fo Jefus Chrift, with regard to the New Testament or covenant promised by Jeremiah, Chap. XXXI. ordains the celebrating the memorial of the blood he had fpilt, This is the New Teftament in my blood, &c. And lastly, whereas the law ordained the commemoration of the pafchal lamb but once a year, Jefus Chrift feems to appoint a much more frequent celebration of the eucharift, when he faith, As oft as ye shall eat this bread, &c. the reafon of which, without doubt, is taken from the greatness of the benefit which his death confers upon us.
It is well worth our obfervation, That ordinarily the fame propheti cal idea's that are found in the Old Teftament may be met with in the New. The book of the Revelations contains abundance of particulars fet down in the prophecies of Zachariah and Ezechiel. Jefus Christ himself pursues the idea's of the Prophet Joel in the XXIV of Matthew, when he fets forth the deftruction of Jerufalem, and afterwards he describes the fame according to the notions which Daniel gives us thereof.
Daniel foretels in the VII Chapter of his book, the deftruction of the Roman monarchy by the Chriftians, whom he ftiles The People of the moft High. St. Paul follows the fame notion, 1 Cor. VI. 2. where he fuppofeth it as a known thing: The Saints (faith he) shall judge the world. And St. John in the XX of the Revelations, verfe 4. reprefents Satan bound, and the government put into the hands of believers.
It is alfo very remarkable, That the promises and threats of Jefus Chrift are expreffed in terms borrowed from the Old Testament. Thefe words of Jefus Chrift, He that hears my words, and believes in him that fent me, hath eternal life, and shall not come into judgment. &c. have not they a plain relation to Adam's unbelief and difobedience, to the judg ment he underwent, and the punishment impofed on him? Is it not from this spirit which penetrates both, that the New Testament to oft makes mention of a new Canaan, a new Jerufalem, a new name, &c. and that glory is reprefented to us fometimes under the notion of Paradife, fometimes of a feaft, where Abraham (who is called The Father of the Faithful) fits at the upper end?
Eternal damnation is reprefented to us under the notion of the valley of Hinnom, of a lake burning with fire and brimftone, with regard to the lake of Sodom, and to the place where the filth of Jerufalem was wont to be burnt up and confumed. "Tis upon this account that believers are exhorted to remember Lot's wife, Luke IX. 62. and XVII. 32. and to depart from the midft of the wicked, Hebr. XIII.
E e 2
If we confider the election of the Apoftles, and of the feventy Dif ciples, we shall find the reference they have to the heads of the twelve tribes, and to the feventy Elders whom Mofes chofe, to preferve the memory of the feventy fouls Jacob brought with him into Egypt. These paffages, Ye fhall fit on twelve thrones, and your names are written in the book of life: and the number of 144000, being the product of 12 times 12, by allufion to the twelve tribes, do all borrow their light from those ancient hiftories.
Throughout the New Teftament we find nothing but a continual allufion to the state of the Jews; all thofe idea's of the liberty of the Sons of God do allude to the ceremony of their jubilee. The first born mentioned there, and the kingdom of Priefts, are not to be understood but by cafting our eye on the Old Teftament. If Jefus Christ be called the chief Corner Stone, if Peter be called a Stone or Rock, Believers living Stones, and the Apostles Foundations, it is by way of allufion to the manner in which the twelve princes or heads of the tribes did contribute towards the building of the temple, and to the manner of the building of it. If the children of Zebedee are called Boanerges, 'tis with reference to the fecond of Haggai, Yet once, and I will shake the heavens and the earth. That the Heathens are defcribed as a people afar off, and what is spoken concerning the wall of partition, hath a vifible refpect to the Gentiles, being prohibited to enter into the holy place of the temple.
If I would inftance in all the mystical relations of the one volume to the other, I might fay that there appears a fingular conformity between them, even in thofe things which feem moft oppofite. Mofes the first and great minister of the law, had a ftammering fpeech, Zachary the father of S. John the Baptift was ftruck dumb, when he was to pronounce the folemn bleffing to the people; whereas Jefus Chrift on the contrary has this character given of him, that never man fpake like him. God faid at the beginning, Encrease and multiply, he repeats the fame to Noah, in order to the propagation of mankind, and replenishing the earth; Jefus Chrift faith, Go and teach all nations; and the word is conftantly repre'fented to us as the feed of the regeneration, and baptifm, as the laver or washing whereby we acquire a new birth. We fee Noah receiving the dove into the ark with an olive branch, as a fign of the peace of Heaven, and Jefus Chrift receives a like token.
Fire falls down from heaven on the facrifice of Abel, Noah, Mofes, David, Solomon, and Elijah, as a token that God accepted their offerings; and God fends the fame mark of his favour on the day of Pentecoft, to declare that the facrifice of Jefus Chrift was most acceptable to him.
God had forbid the high priest to rend his clothes on any occafion whatfoever, that rending of garments involving a mystery, as appears from the hiftory of Jeroboam; and yet we fee, that the high prieft rent his cloaths at the condemnation of our Saviour, and thereby violated for ever the authority of his priesthood, whereas on the contrary we find the garments of our Lord and Saviour were left whole and entire, to fignifie to us the eternity of his priesthood. We fee that the ear of Malchus the high priest's fervant was cut off by S. Peter, and that Jefus Chrift reftored it again, to fhew that the fynagogue had loft the true faith, and Jefus Chrift alone was able to restore it. We fee the holy place in the
temple opened at the death of Chrift, by the rending of the vail, which fignified that the ceremonial law was then to lofe its force and authority.
But the obfervations already made are fufficient to make out what I intend, without having recourfe to thefe myfteries; and I believe no man can make fuch reflexions, without being perfwaded that fo great a conformity of idea's, muft neceffarily imply a perfect unity of defign; now it is impoffible to fuppofe, that this unity of defign fhould be fo conftantly obferved by different authors, who lived at fuch a distance of times, places, and interefts, without being convinced of a perpetual Divine guidance.
I acknowledge that in the New Teftament there may be found fome decifions which feem wholly oppofite to thofe of the Old: for inftance, we find there a total abrogation of the ceremonial law; but forafmuch" as all thofe obfervations had no other ufe, but to diftinguish the Jews from all other nations of the earth, and by this means to make the Meffiah known to the Jews amongst whom he was to be born; fo it is obvious to conceive that all thofe ceremonies were of courfe to be abolifhed, after that the Meffiah was come into the world, and that if we confider things in this view, we fhall find no contradiction at all between Mofes, who eftablished thefe ceremonies, and the Apostles who abolished
But before we come to confirm these grounds, we must make it appear, that the idea's of the Meffiah continued very fresh in the minds of the Jews, and this fhall be the fubject of the following chapter..
That the Idea's of the Meffiah continued very fresh in the Minds of the JEWS at the Time of the Coming of our Saviour JESUS CHRIST.
XXT would be an easie matter for me here to fhew that the idea's I of the Meffiah were lively in the minds of the Jews before the CXX coming of Jefus Chrift. This appears from the fable which the Rabbies told Origen, concerning Zedechiah, and Abiab, whom the king of Babylon burnt, for perfwading the Jewish women, that they were the perfons that were to conceive the Meffiah. But I intend to make ufe of proofs of a different nature.
Now to prove that the notion of the Meffiah was very fresh in the minds of the Jews, we need only take notice, that the promife of God concerning him, was the firft, the most important, and repeated with the greatest affiduity in the books of the Prophets, and confequently it employed them the most: God having for this reafon obliged them to read the books of Mofes every fabbath, to fing the Pfalms of David, and
to examine the writings of the Prophets, where the promise of the Meffiah was a thousand times repeated.
We may add a great deal of light to this obfervation, if we confider that the circumstances of the Jews at that time, engaged them to give more diligent heed to what the Prophets had declared; and by weighing feveral matters of fact fet down in the Gofpel, to fhew the univerfal ef fect of the lively impreffion of this notion of the Meffiah on the minds of the Jews.
Without doubt the eftate of the Jews at that time, being equally oppreft by the power of the Romans, and that of Herod, could not but put them upon a careful examining of the promises, which God had fo often vouchfafed them concerning the Meffiah; and the rather because God had often represented to them the kingdom of the Meffiah as a temporal kingdom, which was to deliver them from the power of their enemies.
This appears very evident in the Gofpel on feveral occafions. We find that the people of Jerufalem and Herod were troubled at the news of the birth of Jefus, as that which would probably cause great troubles and defolations before the kingdom of the Meffiah could fubdue the Romans as well as Herod: one fee's that the multitudes would have taken mans as we Chrift and proclaimed him their king, and fubmitted themselves to him as the true Meffiah; one fee's that Chrift's own Difciples, both before and after his death, talked agreeably to these popular idea's. What elfe can we make of that paffage of the mother of James and John, when The begs for them the chief places in his kingdom? When the Apostles difpute which of them Thould be the greateft, was it not an effect of the fame caufe? Did not the Apoftles, when they went to Emaus, difcourfe at the fame rate? Did not they express themselves with much grief and trouble, before they were inftructed in the most fublime truths of the Gospel? - But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Ifrael,
It is also very obfervable, That Jahn the Baptift appears and adminifters the facrament of baptifm at this time; this his practice gave the Jews occafion to take him for the Meffiah; but what ground had they to think fo? furely from what they had read in Ezechiel, Chap. XXXVI, verfe 25, And indeed, when the great councel of the Jews deputed fome perfons to him, they charged them to know of him whether he were the Meffiah, or no, and if not, why he exercifed a function, which that prophecy feem'd to appropriate to the Meffiah himself, in calling him the Angel of the Covenant.
The fame truth may also be collected from what is related to us concerning the opinions of the Jews about the perfon of Chrift; whom, faith our Saviour, do people fay I am? And the Apoftles answer, That fome faid he was John the Baptift, others Jeremiah, others Elias, and others again that Prophet, that is to fay the Meffiah, who is fo called by way of excellence in the XVIII. of Deuteronomy. And we find that when Jefus Chrift ftil'd himself the Son of Man, the multitudes eafily. conceived that he alluded to the feventh of Daniel, where the Meffiah is fo called,
We perceive alfo from many other places in the Gofpel, That the multitudes were very well acquainted with thofe paffages in the Old Tef